While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Houston American Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:HUSA) share price up 13% in a single quarter. But if you look at the last five years the returns have not been good. You would have done a lot better buying an index fund, since the stock has dropped 47% in that half decade.
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Houston American Energy recorded just US$1,853,223 in revenue over the last twelve months, which isn't really enough for us to consider it to have a proven product. This state of affairs suggests that venture capitalists won't provide funds on attractive terms. So it seems that the investors focused more on what could be, than paying attention to the current revenues (or lack thereof). It seems likely some shareholders believe that Houston American Energy will discover or develop fossil fuel before too long.
We think companies that have neither significant revenues nor profits are pretty high risk. There is usually a significant chance that they will need more money for business development, putting them at the mercy of capital markets. So the share price itself impacts the value of the shares (as it determines the cost of capital). While some such companies go on to make revenue, profits, and generate value, others get hyped up by hopeful naifs before eventually going bankrupt.
Our data indicates that Houston American Energy had US$74,874 more in total liabilities than it had cash, when it last reported in March 2019. That puts it in the highest risk category, according to our analysis. But since the share price has dived -12% per year, over 5 years, it looks like some investors think it's time to abandon ship, so to speak. You can see in the image below, how Houston American Energy's cash levels have changed over time (click to see the values).
Of course, the truth is that it is hard to value companies without much revenue or profit. What if insiders are ditching the stock hand over fist? It would bother me, that's for sure. It costs nothing but a moment of your time to see if we are picking up on any insider selling.
A Different Perspective
Houston American Energy shareholders are down 10% for the year, but the market itself is up 5.1%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 12% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. Before spending more time on Houston American Energy it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
Of course Houston American Energy may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.